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Do’s and Don’ts of using a travel agent.

Recently I’ve had a few people ask me for my opinion of travel agents.  I see different viewpoints on this.

Travel agents can be quite helpful in several instances.

  • If you are too busy or don’t have the patience to build your trip.
  • They can be experts in the area that you want to go.
  • You are taking a trip with a large group (destination wedding, group trip etc) and you would like to have someone be the head of it.
  • If there are any government forms or fees that are needed they can guide you in the right direction.
  • If there are any excursions or experiences you want they can work them into the package.

My negative experience came from planning our girl’s trip to Greece.  I used a travel agent that was recommended by a friend.  I worked with her on our trip for several months and I was quite clear about what the trip was and that we are not millionaires.  When my girlfriends requested an itemized breakdown, she was not very forthcoming.  After several weeks of excuses and failed return calls my friend realized that she had used a travel company to book our trip.  My friend called that company directly to get an itemized receipt.  We realized that the transfers were a $830!  About $75 per person per transfer.  We cancelled the transfers and used Uber in Athens.  The ride was 12.50!  We needed two cars with our luggage but that is a huge savings about $300 to $25!  In Mykonos and Santorini we got our own shuttle at $50 total.  So we saved $630!!!!!!

Also, she told me that the hotel rooms in Greece only accommodate two people so we would have to get two rooms.  This is true of traditional rooms but we found several hotels that had suites to accommodate the four of us.  Since she was only working with that company she didn’t look at any options outside of the rooms they offer.  We booked our own rooms through https://www.hotels.com/.  In Athens we rented a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment with a view of Acropolis.  In Mykonos we had a great suite at a beautiful hotel on the beach.  In Santorini we opted to use https://www.vrbo.com/.  We rented the Helios house which was in the movie “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.”  So cool.  We saved a TON of money.

We ended up cancelling all of the trip through her.  I realize that her commission comes from the amount that we spend on her trip but I don’t feel that she was upfront or had our best interests at heart.  It was frustrating and disappointing.

I know that there are good and helpful travel agents out there.   My advice is that if you are not comfortable putting your trip together yourself, and you  decide to use a travel agent, make sure that everything is itemized and that they are actual experts on where you are going.  Has anyone used a travel agent and have a good experience?  Or tips?  Please leave a comment below!  If you enjoyed this blog please sign up to follow and you’ll join other travelers in getting an email when a new post is up!

 

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12 thoughts on “Do’s and Don’ts of using a travel agent.

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  1. Same experience with a travel agent. I always thought they were experts, but I think it turns out that some of them are lazy and just book what we have access to do ourselves.

  2. This look like a scene out of a movie! I have used travel agents in the past. Some of them are great, but I must admit that I discovered that 80% of the time I could book the same vacation options that they offer for a much lower price by doing research online. It was great for you and your friends that you opted for Uber instead of the transfer. Such a beautiful place!

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